War for Carcasses

On 8 August 2019, the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) filed a report with the Public Financial Inspection Agency, following an investigation into contracts for the burning of animal carcasses, awarded by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency.

The agency has spent nearly BGN 30 million to dispose of animal carcasses in 2018. The same amount was allocated in 2019. The lucrative contracts were awarded to two companies – Sin krast 2016 and Eko BG SJP. The owners of Sin krast 2016 are Yanka Nikolova-Lazarova and Borislav Lazarov, who gained notoriety during the garbage crisis in the capital in 2009 when he was the manager of Novera, one of the involved firms.

It should be noted that the chosen firms were paid to process a record number of carcasses using mobile incinerators, whose capacity is several times smaller than that of regular incinerators.

The ACF legal team has identified a number of red flags that constitute violations of the Public Procurement Act and should be examined by the relevant authorities. For example, the agency signed annexes to the contracts, increasing the volume of work assigned to the private companies and failing to request for additional performance guarantees.

Following the publication of ACF’s investigation, Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor ordered that the Specialized Prosecution carry its own investigation into the matter. On 30 August 2019, the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) informed ACF about an investigation they are carrying, following our report, as well as a report by the Specialized Prosecution.

On 24 September 2019, the agency’s executive director, Damian Iliev, and his deputy, Dr. Todorka Yankovska – Stefanova, were dismissed.

ACF looks forward to the results of the investigation, as well as to the decision of the Administrative Court – Sofia City regarding a complaint we filed against the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency for failing to provide us with information under the Access to Public Information Act.

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Access to Public Information Request Sent to the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency

ACF inquired into the public procurement procedure, following which the agency signed contracts with Sin krast 2016 and Eko BG SJP. Our experts requested information regarding the monthly amounts of animal waste for which the two companies received payments as per their respective contracts. The prices agreed with the two companies and the total payments made to them were also subject to the inquiry.

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Bulgarian Food Safety Agency Refuses ACF Access to the Information

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ACF Files Report with Public Financial Inspection Agency

The report outlines a number of red flags in the public procurement procedure awarding contracts to the two companies, which could lead to possible public health risk and environmental pollution.

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Prosecutor General Assigned the Case to the Specialised Prosecution

ACF has not been notified whether the proceedings have been completed and, if yes, what was the outcome.

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ACF Filed a Case Against the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency in the Administrative Court - Sofia

The proceedings concern the agency's refusal to supply ACF with the required public information and have been set to start on 27 November 2019.

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Damian Iliev, Director of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, Dismissed from His Post

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Administrative Court - Sofia Rules in ACF's Favour

The court directed the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency to supply ACF with the required information.

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Bulgarian Food Safety Agency Supplies ACF with the Long-Sought Information

The official information, provied by the agency, confirmed the suspicions outlined in ACF's report to PFIA that the incineration companies lack the capacity to handle animal waste at a scale which could justify the large payments received.

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New Multi-Million Contract with Eko BG SJP

Despite changes in management and audits of BFSA's earlier decisions, the agency signed an annex to its contract with Eko BG SJP from 1 April 2019, allocating almost BGN 13 million for more services to be provided by the company.